obit: Kathryn "Kay" H. Vacha
Kathryn H. Vacha (Kay to family and friends) lived a rich full life of 94 years before passing away on August 13, 2013 in Austin.
Born July 18, 1919 to Melo G. and Myrtle Murdock Vacha, Kay began her life on the family farm near Washington, Iowa. She graduated from Washington High School and thus began her lifelong quest for education and adventure. She had many memorable moments teaching country schools for four years before leaving to earn a Bachelor Degree in education at Iowa State Teachers College. She taught in Des Moines where she was recruited to teach in the private Joint Oil Company School in Maracaibo, Venezuela. For four years she taught in Venezuela; she explored South and Central America in her spare time. She returned to the U.S. and traveled all fifty U.S. States as an educational consultant with Row Peterson Publishing. She began graduate studies at U.C.L.A., but transferred to Columbia University where she earned her Masters and Doctoral degrees in higher education. She was a professor at New York State University in Oswego and also at Western Connecticut State in Danburg.
She served as the Assistant Director of Graduate Studies at Western Connecticut State as well. After nineteen years, she packed up and moved "home" to Austin, Texas where she was offered the position of International Editor for the Delta Kappa Gamma International Society. Before retiring, she also was a consultant and program director for A.A.R.P. Kay never really retired. She served as a docent for the L.B.J. Presidential Library, as President of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program in Austin. Her awards and service efforts were too numerous to mention.
A talented musician, Kay sang opera, played the piano, violin, and viola. She traveled on six continents and was honored to be with the education entourage permitted into China after Richard Nixon's visit opened foreign travel there. Kay loved her church and church family at Covenant Presbyterian. Kay took a road less traveled and inspired many people to achieve. She was especially admired and loved by her three nieces and one nephew who were blessed to share holidays, birthdays, vacations, and special occasions with "Auntie Kay." She took such an active part in their lives and lovingly enriched the lives of her five great-nephews and four great-nieces. This incredible woman will be missed by family and many close friends.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on August 27, 2013